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Plywood Panel Prep

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Plywood Panel Prep

Covering the edges of plywood panels provides protection, durability, aesthetics, and safety, making it a worthwhile step in finishing and protecting your plywood projects. Plywood edges are vulnerable to damage from moisture, impacts, and general wear and tear. By covering the edges, you provide a protective barrier that helps to prevent chipping, splintering, and other forms of damage.

Plywood is made up of layers or plies, and the edge grain is exposed on the edges. This makes the edges more susceptible to delamination. By applying a covering, you add an extra layer of protection to prevent the layers from separating and enhance the overall durability of the plywood.

The edges of plywood tend to have a rough and unfinished appearance, which can be visually unappealing, especially when the plywood is used in visible areas of furniture, cabinets, or other projects. By covering the edges, you can create a clean and finished look, enhancing the aesthetics of the plywood panels.

Plywood edges can be sharp and may pose a safety risk, especially in applications where people may come into contact with the edges. By covering the edges, you eliminate the sharpness and create a safer environment, reducing the risk of cuts or injuries.

Prime & Paint

Painting the edges of plywood can help achieve a finished and professional look. Here’s how you can best paint the edges of plywood:

  1. Prepare the Surface: Sand any rough spots or splinters, and wipe away any dust or debris. Place painters tape along both sides of the panel.
  2. Prime the Edges: Use a small brush to apply a thin and even layer of primer to the edges of the plywood. Allow the primer to dry as per the manufacturer’s instructions before proceeding to the next step.
  3. Apply the Paint: Dip a clean brush into the paint and apply a thin and even coat to the edges of the plywood. Use long, smooth strokes to prevent brush marks. Make sure to cover the entire edge, including any exposed end grain.
  4. Allow to Dry: Let the first coat of paint dry completely. Follow the drying time specified on the paint can or the manufacturer’s instructions. If necessary, apply additional coats for better coverage and a more vibrant finish. Allow each coat to dry before applying the next.
  5. Sand and Finish: Once the paint is dry, you can lightly sand the edges of the plywood with fine-grit sandpaper to ensure a smooth and seamless finish. Wipe away any dust, and apply a clear protective finish if desired to enhance the durability and appearance of the painted edges.

Remember to work in a well-ventilated area and follow any safety instructions provided by the paint manufacturer. With these steps, you can effectively paint the edges of plywood and achieve a polished final result.

Edge Banding

Applying edge banding is a popular method for covering the exposed edges of plywood panels. You can use pre-glued edge banding, such as Dovetail Birch Edge Banding. This type of edge banding has adhesive on one side. Applying heat activates the adhesive.

Prepare the Wood: Sand the edges lightly with 60 grit sandpaper and remove resulting dust from the plywood with a lint-free rag.

Apply the Edge Banding: Place the edge banding along the edge of the plywood with the adhesive side down. Place a sheet of aluminum foil on top of the edge banding. Place an hot iron on top of the aluminum foil, holding it in place for 3-5 seconds.

Trim and Finish: After the edge banding is cool, use a razor blade to trim the overlapping part of the banding flush with the edge of the plywood. Slightly sand any overlaps with 120 grit sandpaper. Apply a finish to the plywood and edge banding.


Using 1/4″ square or half-round wood to cover the edges of 1/4″ thick plywood is a simple and effective method. Here’s how you can do it:

Measure and Cut: Measure the length of each side of the plywood panel. Cut the 1/4″ dowel to the corresponding lengths plus 1/4″ or 6 mm additional on each end for miter corners.

Setup C-Clamps: Add c-clamps around the panel, leaving room to insert the dowel.

Apply Adhesive: Apply a thin line of wood glue onto the dowel.

Attach the Wood: Press the dowel firmly against the plywood edge. Adjust the c-clamps. Use masking tape where needed. Ensure that the dowel is aligned with the edge of the panel.

Repeat for all Edges: Repeat the process for all the edges of the plywood panel. A racheting strap can be used to hold the entire assembly in place.

Finishing Touches: If desired, you can sand the wood edges to create a smooth, flush finish. You can also stain or paint the wood to match your decorating theme.


Decoupage can be a creative and decorative way to cover the edges of plywood or the entire panel. Here’s how you can use decoupage for this purpose:

  1. Prepare the Wood: Ensure that the edges of the 1/4 inch wood are smooth and free from any roughness. Sanding the edges lightly can help create a better surface for decoupage.
  2. Choose the Decoupage Material: Select a decoupage material, such as decorative paper, fabric, or napkins, that you would like to use to cover the edges of the wood. Make sure the material is thin enough to adhere easily to the wood.
  3. Cut the Material: Cut the decoupage material into strips that are slightly wider and longer than the edges of the wood. This will allow for easier application and trimming later.
  4. Apply the Decoupage Medium: Using a brush or sponge, apply a thin and even layer of the decoupage medium to the edge of the wood where you want to attach the decoupage material.
  5. Attach the Decoupage Material: Carefully place the cut strips of decoupage material onto the wet decoupage medium. Press them down gently to ensure good adhesion and smooth out any air bubbles or wrinkles. Use a craft knife, scissors, or tear excess material from the edges. Repeat this process for all the edges.
  6. Seal and Protect: Once the decoupage material is applied, carefully apply another layer of the decoupage medium on top of the material. This will seal it and protect it from damage. Make sure to cover the entire surface of the decoupage material and extend the layer slightly onto the wood.
  7. Allow to Dry: Let the decoupage medium dry completely according to the manufacturer’s instructions. This may take a few hours or overnight, depending on the medium used.
  8. Trim and Finish: Finally, you can add additional layers of decoupage medium for added protection